The Hague — November 28, 2018– For a few years now, Belizean officials have been highlighting efforts to maintain the Organization of American States Adjacency Zone Office open. In fact in 2016 they noted that there was an urgent need for funding. By the end of that year, the office had been reduced to a skeleton staff and some programs were cut. Annually, US$2.5 million is required for the office’s operations.
The common goal of maintaining the continued presence of the OAS on the ground to assist with any conflicts that may arise saw Belize and Guatemala’s foreign ministers both approaching the Group of Friends for financial assistance.
This week, at a meeting with Belizean media who are on a tour of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Belize’s Ambassador to the European Union, H.E. Dylan Vernon, disclosed some good news. He informed that in late October this year, the European Union approved €7 million in grant funding towards the Belize-Guatemala peace process. Half will be used for the continued operation of the OAS AZ Office, and the remainder will be used to support projects for economic development by civil society organizations on both sides of the border.
The European Union remains one of the largest contributors to the Belize-Guatemala peace process. In September last year, a delegation of EU ambassadors visited the Office at the Western border. European member states among the Group of Friends include Germany, Spain, Norway, the UK and Sweden.